SA TROTS - BUNYIP HARNESS RACING

Star trotter Millys Magic revived memories of the champion New Zealand squaregaiter Pride Of Petite when she won the race named after that champion mare at Globe Derby Park on Saturday.

Trained at Wasleys by Claire Goble, and driven by David Smith, Millys Magic ($4.40 fav) unleashed a sizzling sprint, five wide around the home turn to claim victory in the 2023 Peak DNK @ Mountain View Stud Pride Of Petite (2230m).

She scored a last stride half-head win from Our Spitfire ($14), trained at Kapunda by Peta Brown and driven by her husband Terry, with the, and Garth Hurrell-trained-and-driven Majestic Tilly ($7), 1-1/2 metres away third.

In 1997, Pride Of Petite came from near last coming off the back straight in the Inter Dominion grand final at Globe Derby Park swamping the best trotters in Australasia to win and put herself in legend status.

The mare has been honoured in South Australia by the naming of a feature race, the Pride Of Petite which is always keenly contested and none more so than Saturday’s exciting event.

Reinsman Terry Brown had Our Spitfire away brilliantly from the stand start to lead, and once in front, rated his mare brilliantly with pedestrian quarters of 33.4 and 32.6 seconds for the first half of the last 1600 metres, effectively making the race into a sprint home over the last 800 metres.

With quarters of 29.7 and 29.6 seconds, Our Spitfire was always going to be hard to catch.

David Smith, on Millys Magic, admitted he was concerned with a lap to run in the Pride Of Petite.

“I was second last (in the field of 10) and knew the tempo had been slow, but knew it was too early to go.

“Fortunately, two other drivers decided to try and put their horses into the race, so I took a three wide trail up towards the front.

“I asked Milly to go coming off the back and she sprinted brilliantly to quickly pass all the opposition except Our Spitfire which was also sprinting quickly.

“Milly kept coming and we were able to grab a photo-finish win.”

Smith, who has had great success with squaregaiters, said he didn’t believe he had won a Pride Of Petite previously.

For trainer Claire Goble, it was her second win in the feature having taken out the 2016 running with Emilys Vacation.

“This was a special win,” Goble said.

“Millys Magic was owned Peter Mittiga who absolutely loved the mare,” Goble said.

“Even though he was in ill health, he loved coming out to watch her race. Unfortunately, he passed away and now his wife Mary has picked up his enthusiasm.

“Coming off a 30-metre handicap was always going to make it tough, and with the slow tempo, she was going to have to sprint strongly.

“David (Smith) understands her so well and drove beautifully. They make a great team.”

Goble said she would plot a program towards the SA Trotters Cup next month with Millys Magic, a race in which she ran second to C K Spur earlier this year.

Trainer-driver Dean Girardi, from Angle Vale, continued his good recent run landing a driving double.

He won on Butter Cup for trainer Nick Tardio, then scored an emotional win on Julius Franco, which he trains himself.

Using the sprint lane, Butter Cup ($11) dashed through to win The Globe Bar & Gaming Pace (1800m).

The four-year-old mare scored by a metre from the fast-finishing Whata Optimist ($6.50) with Major Holliday ($3.20 fav), a neck away third.

Tardio explained Butter Cup was a mare still on the improve.

“She is owned by Bob Burrows from Port Pirie,” Tardio said.

“He had her in Victoria but once she had picked up her Vicbred bonus, she came across to my stable.

“Tonight is her second win for me and I believe she can keep improving.”

But it was the win of Julius Franco in the SAHRC Members Claiming Pace (1800m) which produced the most emotion.

The nine-year-old had not won a race for more than three years but Girardi’s win Ali had the faith he could return to the winner’s list.

A $19 outsider, Julius Franco wore down the leader Secret Jack ($2.30 fav) to win by 1-1/2 metres with Miso Miso ($34), a head away third.